Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmail DOT com

Science in London: The 2016 scientific society talks in London blog post

Monday, 4 May 2015

RSS to Twitter - turning website updates into automated tweets, with IFTTT

Some Twitter accounts are broadcast-only (they send tweets but there isn't a person behind the account typing out these tweets) and they're useful for getting news feeds from various websites and sources.

There are several ways of creating one of these "bots" (Twitter robots, automated accounts) - you don't need to know how to program and you don't need your own server.

Probably the easiest way to set up such a Twitter account is to use the free IFTTT service (which stands for 'IF This, Then That'). If a website has an RSS feed (look for an orange square icon with a radiating white pattern) then you can use that to set up a system that will ping out a tweet for you.

You will need
  • an input, in this case an RSS feed
  • an output - a spare Twitter account
To make your own Twitter feed based on an RSS feed you can use an IFTTT recipe that converts RSS feed items into tweets, it's called RSS to Twitter.

The steps are
  1. Create your spare Twitter account and log in
  2. Create an IFTTT account and log in there too
  3. While logged into both IFTTT and Twitter go to https://ifttt.com/twitter and activate Twitter as a channel (this will be your output) you probably won't need to activate RSS as a separate channel but just in case its https://ifttt.com/feed
Here's an example from one that I've made, the @moviesinconcert feed for the Movies in Concert website - my IFTTT 'recipe' is a modified version of the RSS to Twitter recipe, it's at https://ifttt.com/recipes/262124-film-music-concert-info-from-movies-in-concert-rss-to-twitter
Here’s what it looks like under the bonnet with the RSS feed as the ‘trigger’ causing the action of sending out a tweet. I’ve added the hashtag #filmmusic and asked the recipe to publish this along with the title of the update from Movies in Concert along with the address (Entry URL) and the first line of the page.

If you click into the lower box it looks like this and you can click on the blue ‘science flask’ icon to change the options, this will change what the tweets look like.






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